Upgrading to HTTPS can help you secure your site
SSL or HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that adds an additional layer of security to the standard HTTP connection. If you have a website, you’ve probably heard of SSL or HTTPS.
Despite the fact that HTTPS has been around for more than two decades, it was initially only used by websites that handled sensitive data, such as credit card information. Google is now requiring that HTTPS be used as the standard protocol for all websites.
What exactly is SSL/HTTPS?
HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) is the industry standard for transmitting information across the internet. If you visit a website that uses HTTP, all data transmitted between the site server and the browser is in plain text, meaning that anyone who intercepts your connection can read any of the data passing back and forth between the website and the site visitor, including passwords, personal information, and financial information.
When you access a website through HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure), SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is used to add an extra layer of security by encrypting all communications between the website’s server and the browser that you are using to access it.
Three things are guaranteed by an HTTPS connection:
- Authentication on the website: HTTPS ensures that your customers are communicating with the intended site and not with a spoof version of the original website.
- Integrity of data: The use of HTTPS ensures that any information transmitted between the site’s server and the site visitor’s browser is not altered or corrupted during the transfer process.
- Encryption of data: It is impossible for anyone else to view the information transmitted between HTTPS sites and visitors in its unencrypted form because it is private and secure.
Should You Switch to SSL / HTTPS?
Since 2014, Google has used HTTPS as a ranking signal, and in 2017, the search engine began displaying a “not secure” warning for sites that do not use HTTPS.
When Google introduced its new Page Experience ranking factor in May 2021, it made the use of HTTPS mandatory in order to receive a “good” rating. Prior to Google prioritizing websites that use HTTPS, only 7% of the results on the first page of Google were secured using the SSL protocol. When it comes to websites, 72.5 percent of all websites will be using HTTPS as their default protocol by May 2021.
How to Make the Switch to HTTPS / SSL
- If you want to make the switch to SSL / HTTPS, here are the steps you need to take to complete the transition.
- Choose, purchase, and install a security certificate on your site server, and ensure that the certificate is kept up to date.
- Identify and update URLs for any content, including internal links, embedded videos, images, scripts, forms, and other types of content, from HTTP to HTTPS, as needed.
- Put the new HTTPS pages through their paces.
- Implement 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS to ensure that search engines are aware that your site’s URL has changed, and that anyone accessing your site through the old URL will be automatically redirected to the new URL.
- Google should re-crawl and re-index your site, so make sure this happens.